Sunday, January 22, 2012

US Top Venezuela

Last night in Arizona, the US national team topped Venezuela in the first of two friendlies for the camp cupcake roster, 1-0 thanks to a late goal by Ricardo Clark. Sporting KC forward Teal Bunbury and midfielder Graham Zusi both started for the US, while forward, CJ Sapong came on as a second half sub, replacing Zusi.

Neither Bunbury or Zusi had spectacular performances, both had some difficulties at times, and both seemed to fade late in their shifts. Sapong brought a big body to assist on set pieces, and helped to pull 3 defenders with him on the corner kick that lead to Clark's goal.

Bunbury had a few chances, the best a turn and shot from about 22 yards out that was over the bar. He did a decent job of running at defenders and creating some opportunities, but the finishing shot wasn't there for Bunbury.

Zusi set up the best chance of the first half on a free kick, playing a ball right onto the head of Brek Shea who forced the keeper into a good save. In the second half he had a good chance himself, collecting a poor clearance, he drove in on goal, but his shot was wide of the net, not forcing the save. Zusi's biggest issue last night may have had more to do with his being played out of position. While Zusi spent a little time on the wing for KC last season, he really excelled when he was in the middle of the field. Last night Zusi was a little lost at times on the wing. He was almost invisible when he moved to the left wing for part of the first half.

Sapong had a strong short shift. He did exactly what I think everyone expected. He provided a strong body that would play back to goal, knock the ball down, and throw himself into defenders. He did that well throughout his shift.

For Bunbury it was his 3rd cap for the US, while Zusi and Sapong earned their first. Zusi and Sapong are the 30th and 31st players to be capped by their national team while a member of Sporting KC.

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